Student Support Services

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How the ICS School Counseling Program is a Bridge to Success for Students at School

Student Support Services at ICS 

Our technology resources allow elementary students the opportunity to utilize the benefits that technology can offer in terms of research and multimedia access to course content that brings information alive in a way that traditional teaching tools cannot always do.  Our faculty strives to strike the appropriate balance of traditional and technology-enhanced instruction so that students learn how to utilize technology responsibly. 

Beginning in kindergarten, ICS students attend a weekly technology class. Integration with grade level curriculum guides application of concepts wherever possible. Kindergartners begin with learning basic computer operations, including mouse skills, keyboard layout and initial discussions of safe technology practices. Sequencing is used to lay the foundations for concepts of coding. Each grade level builds upon the prior year, layering on higher levels of understanding and application, incorporating documents, presentations, spreadsheets, digital citizenship, Internet safety, copyright and plagiarism, the design process for engineering, coding and 3-D design concepts.

Accelerated Classes

ICS faculty strives to challenge each child in the classroom, no matter the grade level. Differentiation strategies are routinely employed, even in heterogeneous classes, to ensure that all students are demonstrating the full complement of their academic abilities. Beginning in the 3rd grade, core subjects are taught by subject area specialized teachers in ELA, math and social studies. This allows not only for students to get their first exposure to changing classes, but for the teachers to get to know all students in the grade as individual learners, thus enabling them to effectively determine which students need additional challenge and should be recommended for accelerated classes beginning in the 4th grade.

Accelerated ELA classes challenge students with more complex texts and higher expectations for writing stamina, clarity, structure and content. Students are taught advanced annotation and analysis techniques, enabling them to comprehend narratives and recognize literary conventions at least a year beyond their grade level. Vocabulary study is advanced to the content of the grade above and the highest expectations are placed upon exceptional grammar usage for these students.  

Accelerated math classes essentially advance the student one full grade level in the math curriculum. This exposes them to more complex math concepts and higher expectations for mathematical reasoning and problem-solving than is asked of their grade-level peers. At the completion of the accelerated class for 6th grade students, some students are advanced an additional grade level in the curriculum to begin study of advanced Algebra 1 in the 7th grade. Students undertaking this course of study are highly motivated and highly capable math students who will progress to an advanced Geometry class with extensive coverage of geometric proofs in the 8th grade. Class placements are reviewed annually and placement adjustments can even be made midyear if such a change would benefit a student. It is worth noting that the ICS math program is highly challenging even at the grade-level of study, with exceptional test scores and demonstrated mastery on high school placement testing. 

Academic Support Programs

ICS is committed to supporting students with a variety of learning differences and maintains a robust student support structure to accomplish that goal. Our Inclusion Coordinator serves as a point person for all students with identified learning needs the creation and maintenance of student accommodation plans. Acting as a liaison with parents, classroom teachers, support personnel and outside agencies, as well as students themselves, the Inclusion Coordinator Coordinator ensures that necessary accommodations are being supported in the classroom.  Inclusion Coordinator oversees monthly student advocacy meetings during which teachers and administrators discuss possible academic interventions for students of concern. Mentoring classroom teachers in inclusive teaching practices is also a key role of the Inclusion Coordinator.

Our Orton-Gillingham trained reading specialist is a valuable member of our student support structure working with students in kindergarten through 4th grade using a variety if multi-modal techniques for reading instruction. All students in kindergarten through the 2nd grade are screened early in each school year to identify and emerging reading challenges. Small group remediation classes that address reading fluency, comprehension and writing skills are capped at eight students to work closely with the reading specialist and build confidence. Small group ELA classes are offered in 5th through 7th grade to provide extra support where needed to achieve class expectations.

Our Math Specialist meets one-on-one with students as well as in small grade-level groups for individualized math support. Team teaching with all math instructors in the 3rd through 8th grades is part of the Math Specialist’s role to support students within the classroom learning environment. 

Executive Function Support

As students progress through the upper elementary grades and into the middle school years, there is an increased need for organization, independence and self-advocacy, which fall under the umbrella of executive functioning. For students that need additional support with executive function skills, individual coaching and oversight can be provided to help develop more efficient and productive study practices, project management skills and organizational techniques.

Speech and Occupational Therapy Services

For students needing speech-language or occupational therapy services, ICS works in conjunction with outside agencies to provide services during the school day. These services can be through Baltimore County Public Schools or our private provider partnerships with HASA and Kids Thrive Therapy. Baltimore County Public Schools services are obtained through Child Find, while HASA and Kids Thrive Therapy provide screenings at minimal cost to the parents. ICS sets aside a classroom dedicated for these services, enabling students to be in a familiar and comfortable environment for their therapies. These in-school services allow for open communication between the therapy provider and the classroom teacher as well as the Inclusion Coordinator to ensure student progress.

Guidance

Immaculate Conception School employs the services of a licensed graduate professional counselor five days per week. Students can refer themselves to the counselor and are always permitted to initiate a guidance visit. Teachers might also refer a student to the guidance department based upon observed behaviors. Parents are informed of such meetings by the guidance counselor.

Our counselors deliver classroom programming throughout the school year, enabling them to share valuable social and emotional insights and techniques with the student population. They are also able though these classroom interactions to establish relationships and familiarity and thus lay the foundation for a trusting relationship on which students can rely in times of stress or crisis. 

The Friendzy Program is overseen by our guidance counselors and delivered via the homeroom teachers on a monthly basis as an additional tool to support the social and emotional well-being of our students. Friendzy encompasses topics focused on the development of friendship skills, emotional balance and resiliency at age-appropriate levels in all grades.

Health

The ICS Health Office is staffed with a registered nurse each day of the week. Our nurses maintain a visible presence within the school, and place a priority on students feeling comfortable to seek out care whether they have routine medical needs or an occasional injury or illness.